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Assessment Studies for Proposed Rogun Hydropower Project in Tajikistan

June 6, 2013

Highlights
  • Assessment Studies aim to examine potential benefits and risks of the proposed Rogun Hydropower Project in Tajikistan.
  • The World Bank has committed to an expanded role to ensure credible, transparent assessments, open to international scrutiny and riparian dialogue.
  • Studies are in response to a request by the Government of Tajikistan.

** READ THE LATEST NEWS ** Fifth and Final Riparian Meetings on Rogun Assessment Studies (July 18, 2014).

Background

In response to a request by the Government of Tajikistan, the World Bank is supporting two studies to evaluate the viability of the proposed Rogun Hydropower Project (HPP) according to international standards:

  • Techno-Economic Assessment Study (TEAS)
  • Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA)

These Assessment Studies are conducted by international consultant firms contracted on a competitive basis by the Government of Tajikistan and financed through an IDA project with assistance of World Bank experts. The studies were contracted to two international firms and the procurement process was monitored closely by the World Bank. A consortium led by Coyne & Bellier will undertake the TEAS (contact signed on February 8, 2011) while Poyry of Switzerland will direct the ESIA (contract signed on March 25, 2011).

The Assessment Studies aim to examine the potential benefits and risks of the proposed Rogun HPP and comprehensively evaluate its technical, economic, social, and environmental viability based on international standards and practices and in accordance with the World Bank’s policies and procedures. The Studies will provide the Government of Tajikistan, the World Bank, the other Central Asian countries and the international community with information about key elements associated with the proposed Rogun HPP, such as the project’s technical soundness and safety, economic viability and compliance with all relevant environmental and social safeguards.

The World Bank’s overall engagement in the energy sector supports the Government of Tajikistan’s strategy to ensure reliable supply to consumers, deal with the severe winter energy shortages, reduce electricity system losses and strengthen financial management system to improve the financial condition of the energy sector, and develop a regional trade scheme to achieve sustainable export of summer surplus electricity. The World Bank is also currently preparing a power supply options study for Tajikistan. This study will assess the energy supply options available to Tajikistan taking into account power, economic, environmental, social, and water management considerations.

The World Bank’s Commitment to International Standards

In supporting the Rogun Assessment Studies, the World Bank has committed to an expanded role to ensure credible, transparent assessments that are open to international scrutiny and riparian dialogue. In this context, the World Bank is funding two independent Panels of Experts: an Engineering and Dam Safety Panel and an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Panel. The role of the Panels is to ensure due diligence and international quality standards, as well as objectivity and credibility through independent advice and guidance. The Panels of Experts are composed of recognized professionals selected by the World Bank; they are expected to question the assumptions of the consultants and to request additional data or investigations, where needed, to meet rigorous technical, economic, and social standards.

The proposed Rogun HPP would be the highest dam in the world. Due to significant changes in hydropower development and climate science over the past three decades, it is critical that Tajikistan applies modern international knowledge and standards to ascertain the public safety and long-term economic viability of such a project.

According to international practice, construction should not begin on any project before the technical, economic, and social viability is fully assessed. Otherwise, significant risks could be posed to public safety. In the spirit of internationally accepted norms, the World Bank and the Government of Tajikistan reached an understanding in 2010 that no new construction would commence until after the Assessment Studies have been prepared, reviewed by the Panels of Experts, then shared and discussed with riparian nations. It was also agreed that there would be no further resettlement of residents from the proposed reservoir area until there is a resettlement framework plan in place to provide proper compensation or alternative housing.

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